The time after giving birth is full of changes and emotions making it important to be aware of the symptoms that you may experience during postpartum.
Postpartum has three stages:
- Immediate Postpartum: In the first 24 hours after birth, your body has begun the healing process causing cramps that signify that your body is shrinking back to pre-pregnancy size.
- Early Postpartum: Within the first week to 10 days after birth, your body continues the recovery process and you may experience some challenges in breastfeeding and mood swings as you adapt to your new lifestyle.
- Late Postpartum: While this stage is unique to everyone, it occurs anywhere between 6 months or longer after birth, making this an important time to practice self-care for your mental health as postpartum depression or anxiety can develop during this period.
Give yourself permission to practice these tips during postpartum to help you care for your mental health:
- Seek support: Talk to your partner, family, and friends about your feelings and needs. Connect with other new mothers by joining a support group.
- Take care of your everyday needs: Get rest, eat well, and exercise – you’ll have more energy throughout the day.
- Accept help when offered: Don’t hesitate to let others assist with household chores, childcare/babysitting, or running errands.
- Set realistic expectations: Be patient with yourself; your body and emotions will take time to recover, and it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.
- Take time for yourself: It’s essential to have some time for self-care and relaxation, even if it’s just a few minutes a day.
It’s easy to push these needs to the side – you have a lot of new responsibilities – but your care for your child is only as good as your care for yourself.